The Asia Security Summit, better known as the Shangri-La Dialogue, opened in Singapore on May 30, with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledging to support Vietnam and the Philippines in their territorial disputes with China, saying the use of force and intimidation to change the status quo cannot be justified.

In his speech, Abe said the rule of law is what makes the Asia-Pacific region stable, adding countries should adhere to international law, avoid resorting to force, and resolve conflicts peacefully.

The speech, the first by a Japanese prime minister at the forum, came amid a recent spike in regional tensions as China deployed an oil rig on Vietnam's continental shelf. Abe expressed hope that a code of conduct will be put in place in the East Sea soon.

To avoid contingencies at sea and in the skies, Abe urged China to keep its promise made in 2007 to set up a communications mechanism, and pursue dialogue.

At the beginning of May 2014, China illegally dispatched the rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 as well as a large fleet of armed vessels, military ships and aircraft to Vietnam’s waters and positioned the rig at 15 degrees 29 minutes 58 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 12 minutes 06 seconds east longitude. The location is 80 miles deep into Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

China ’s armed vessels aggressively fired high-power water cannons at and intentionally rammed against Vietnamese public-service and civil ships, causing damage to many boats and injuring many people on board.

Chinese ships have continuously encircled, constrained and driven away Vietnamese fishing boats and even injured Vietnamese fishermen, threatening their lives.

On May 26, Chinese ship 11209 sank a Vietnamese fishing vessel while it was operating normally in its traditional fishing ground near Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago.

On May 27, China moved the rig to 15 degrees 33 minutes 22 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 34 minutes 36 seconds east longitude. The new location is 25 nautical miles from Tri Ton Island in Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago and 23 nautical miles east-northeast from the old location, still completely within Vietnam ’s continental shelf. With the move, China has kept on violating Vietnam ’s sovereign right and jurisdiction.-VNA